The Chief Executive Officer of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission urges 32 graduates of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) level four training exercises to work in the interest of the government and people of Liberia, not the president or heads of their various institutions.
“You guys have made it; you’ve worked very hard and have made Liberia proud. What you’ve done, however, is just one step in the professionalization process. I want to charge you in your different roles and obligations as you go now to utilize your newly acquired skills, please ensure that the best interest you are protecting is not the president’s interest, the best interest you are protecting is not the head of your agencies, the best interest you’re protecting is the national interest, it’s Liberia’s interest…make sure that you do your work diligently,” Mr. James Dorbor Jallah challenges CIPS graduates.
Speaking that graduation ceremony on Monday, 26 November at the Monrovia City Hall, he notes the UNDP and other partners have invested millions of dollars into the training of these procurement practitioners aimed at supporting the government fight wastes and abuse in the public sector.
Mr. Jallah stresses the need to retain professionals in the workplace adding, “These people should not be sidelined. They should be removed only for a cause, because we have invested so much in them. Procurement is so technical, and vulnerability of the government to wastes and abuse is high within the public procurement functions, therefore, sidelining these procurement practitioners poses big risks to the governance system and exposes the country to waste and abuse…”
He thanks UNDP, the World Bank, European Union and the Government of Liberia for the level of support to the CIPS training exercise. “My understanding is that UNDP has invested over a million dollars into this program since its inception, we started with just thirty thousand dollars and it has now grown to over a million dollars and the UNDP has consistently supported this. I think this is at the rudiment of ensuring that there is governance efficiency, transparency and accountability,” he explains.
He says the 32 graduates, including 11 females and 21 males drawn from 18 government and non-government institutions in Liberia were among the first batch of students to have successfully completed levels 2 & 3 and advanced to the highest level of the program out of 60 candidates from 28 institutions who participated.
To date, Jallah reveals, over 600 Liberians across 160 government institutions have benefited from different levels of the CIPS training program. UNDP Deputy Country Director for Programme, and acting Country Director, Cleophas Torori says the CIPS training exercise is one of the partnerships with PPCC that has yielded tremendous results that everyone is proud of.
“This is one of the best stories that must come from Liberia for the World to know on how to approach capacity building in any country and build skills, is to use an approach that is very innovative and addresses the very core of the challenges that we know,” Mr. Torori underscores.
He said the CIPS training exercise came about because of the vision of the PPCC Boss who opted for an in-country training of Liberian procurement practitioners to professionalize procurement in the governance structure.
“These graduates have got skills now in strategic procurement planning, strategic negotiation for procurement, high level contract management; this is really new and we hope that these skills will be translated into use in the areas of work that you do and in protecting the national interest,” the UNDP Deputy Country Director says.
Delivering the keynote address, the Executive Chairman of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission Cllr. James Verdier, remains graduates that Liberia and Liberians will only become proud when they effectively execute their duties to prevent fraud, wastes, abuse and over expenditure of government’s scarce resources.
Representatives of the World Bank and the European Union also made remarks on behalf of their respective institutions at the program. In collaboration with UNDP, the PPCC has adopted the UNDP CIPS program as part of its larger capacity building strategy geared towards professionalizing the procurement profession in Liberia.
CIPS is a United Kingdom based global professional body leading excellence in procurement and supply. It is aimed at promoting and developing high standards of professional skills, ability and integrity among procurement practitioners. CIPS offers a prestigious and internationally acclaimed certificate program, a customized vision of which is referred to as UNDP/CIPS.
–Editing by Jonathan Browne